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Police & Fire

Rally Held For Hotel Worker Attacked by NY Couple; Suspects To Face Bigotry Charges

This surveillance video still shows the attack on 59-year-old Crystal Caldwell of Groton.
This surveillance video still shows the attack on 59-year-old Crystal Caldwell of Groton. Photo Credit: YouTube

A Connecticut community came together to support a hotel worker injured during an allegedly racially-motivated attack as a New York couple is due to face charges of bigotry and assault this week.

Dozens of people congregated Sunday, July 26, in Stonington for a rally in support of Crystal Caldwell, 59, a Groton woman that video surveillance shows was viciously attacked while working at the Quality Inn in Mystic.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), attended the rally.

“State leaders are saying black lives matter and we want justice for Crystal Caldwell,” Blumenthal told the crowd. He called the incident a “hideous hate crime” and said politicians need to do more to make sure violence-fueled by bigotry is “prosecuted more readily.”

Police accuse Long Islanders Philip Sarner, 38, and Emily Orbay, 28, both formerly of Nassau County, of attacking Caldwell on June 26. Sarner is being charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, and intimidation based on bigotry and bias. Orbay has been charged with third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias.

Video surveillance of the incident shows Caldwell getting punched and thrown to the ground, then attacked some more.

An independent investigation has been started into the police response to the assault. The suspects were not arrested on the day of the incident, police said. All three people involved were taken to the hospital for treatment, but police said they were unable to keep an eye on them due to COVID-19 restrictions. The New York couple was released from the hospital and left. The couple was later arrested on July 13.

Sarner and Orbay are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, July 29.

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